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Karoja: The Unification of Culture Between Java and Karo

Case study

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International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration
Volume 3, Issue 6, September 2017, Pages 19-22

Karoja: The Unification of Culture Between Java and Karo

DOI:  10.18775/ijmsba.1849-5664-5419.2014.36.1002
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.18775/ijmsba.1849-5664-5419.2014.36.1002

Sabariah Bangun

Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences University of Sumatera Utara, Jl. Dr. Sofyan Nomor 1, Medan, Indonesia

Abstract: Humans made up of different races, tribes, nations, and religions. Indonesia consists of various ethnicities or tribes so that Indonesia has a philosophy of life, unity in diversity, which means although different but still united. As a result of the diversity of ethnic groups in Indonesia, there is frequent intermarriage. This intermarriage gave the issue the cultural unification between the male and the female. One of the unification of culture studied is the marriage between Karonese and Javanese in the District of Namorambe, Deli Serdang regency – North Sumatra. The majority of people in the village Namorambe are the Karo tribe, and they have originally occupied this area. Assimilation means a process of unification of different cultures with the aim to reduce the difference between the two of them and achieve mutual interests. In contrast, acculturation involves in itself the process of assimilation to walk with their real efforts of both cultures holder. As we know, intermarriage is an example of the union of two cultures within the scope of the individual. By marrying people of different tribes with us means that we are ready to accept all differences including cultural differences. However, to build a harmonious household, usually, the pair will unify their respective cultures so that their relationship has always been good. Marriages between Karonese and Javanese tribes often occur in Namorambe areas. There are two villages patterned Java, Desa Jati Kesuma and Judi Rejo villages. Intermarriage between Karo and Java tend to prefer the lineage of the male or patrilineal. This study aims to see how the union of two cultures that Karo and Java in the Namorambe area, and what kind of results the union of two cultures. A contemporary phenomenon in the cultural unification Karo and Java is the entertainment community, which is a mixture of both cultures in the form of music with a typical arrangement Karo, however lyric in Javanese language, and the title song is ‘Karoja’.

Keywords: The unification of culture, Intermarriage, Differences ethnic, Indigenous

Karoja: The Unification of Culture Between Java and Karo

1. Introduction

Indonesia is one country that has an assortment of tribes (multiethnic), with a high degree of diversity and has great opportunities for the multicultural wedding. Weddings are held containing values, or cultural norms are very powerful and broad (Abu in Natalia and Iriani, 2002). As for who can accelerate the integration between tribes is assimilation. This happens because in the assimilation of adjustment or melting properties of the original owned by the properties of the environment around us. Adjustment or smelting was conducted by marriage.

Based on the data found in BPS (Central Statistics Agency) in 2014, there were 2,109,339 inhabitants in the province of North Sumatra particularly in Deli Serdang and diversity among ethnics of Malays, Batak, Karo, Javanese, Chinese and Indians. Thus, it is inevitable that many multicultural weddings are arranged not only between citizens who have some ethnic differences but also between the Indonesians and foreigners from Western culture are found in the province, especially in Deli Serdang (CBS, 2014). A large number of the Karo tribe and Javanese living in Deli Serdang especially Namorambe village be one of the factors that can unite them in a matrimony.

Undergoing a relationship in marriage is not as easy as walking a relationship when they are not married (Degenova, 2008). Many new things are discovered by individuals on themselves when one marries another. Individuals must learn to adjust to each other. Moreover, if a married couple is from different ethnic backgrounds, various types of differences such as cultural values, attitudes, beliefs, prejudices, stereotypes will be found (Matsumoto, D. and L. Juang, 2008). In this paper, the authors will see the marriage between Karo tribe and Javanese.

1.1 Reasons for Choosing the Topic

The purpose of this study was to determine the cultural unification between Karo tribe and Javanese at Namorambe village, Deli Serdang regency.

2. Literature Review

Adjustment marriage is defined as the process of modifying, adapting, and changing individual behavior patterns and interactions couples to achieve maximum satisfaction in the relationship (Degenova, 2008). According to Bernard (in Santrock, 2009), there are two dimensions in marriage adjustment, namely (1) the degree of understanding and agreement, (2) intimate communication between couples. Hurlock (2004) says there are four main things in the adjustment of a marriage of the most common and important for the happiness of marriage, namely adjustments with a partner, sexual adjustment, financial adjustments, and adjustments to the partner’s family. The health adjustment will lead to a condition in which couples are happy, and people who fail to adapt will have problems in their marriage (Degenova, 2008). The phenomenon of different ethnic weddings has experienced different stories. In a marriage where two different cultures are united, different backgrounds and different parts can cause incompatibility (Koentjaraningrat, 1981 in Sedyawati, 2003).

Karo tribe and the tribe of Java is one of the eight ethnic cultures in the province of North Sumatra. Although there are some differences in the form of customs and habit patterns among these groups, there are basic things that are universal aspects of the environment customs and influential role in the manifestation of an attitude, character, response, how to view each community. Javanese people want harmony, concord and harmony mindset to live in mutual respect (Bratawijaya, 1997).

It was found that most Javanese prefer to remain silent and avoid conflict rather than fight because it tends to emphasize the unity and harmony in life. According to research conducted by Andayani (2001), in the Java family it is found that when the marriage conflicts occur, they tend to deal with how to avoid such conflicts. Unlikely, people belonging to Batak tribe are spontaneous and not afraid of conflicts with other people because they are taught that human beings are equal and no human should be privileged over others (Build 1986 in Minauli, 2006). This is evident in their belief that everyone can have power as reflected in the concept of “Rakut Sitelu” where everyone can switch roles and status by the position when dealing with a person.

3. Research Method

The data used in this study were collected through observation and interview. Interviews were conducted with the head of the village, the community around the village Namorambe, Lorong, Jati Kesuma and Judi Rejo and four pairs, namely, two couples of Karo Tribe and two Karo tribe Javanese women with two Javanese men.

4. Result and Discussion

The research process was interesting when the husband and wife were of Javanese Karo tribe. According to Hurlock (2004), the man, known as a masculine, is courageous (male power), in contrast to the woman referred to as a feminine, softer and timider. A husband who became a head of the household is expected to be a figure that is respected and honored. Though, it would be different when her husband is found weaker than a wife. In accordance with the exposure theory of Javanese and Karo, the role which should be owned by the husband as a leader will be lost because of the dominance of his wife since Karo tribes have a dominant character trait.

Kurdek and Smith (in Hoffman, Paris & Hall 1994) stated that in marriage, there will be three stages through which the pair should pass through:
1. A phase that occurs in the first year of marriage where the couple learns to live together and understand one another
2. A phase nesting that occurs in the second and third years when a couple explores the limits of their suitability to nascent conflicts
3. A maintaining phase that occurs in the fourth year that when the pair starts resolving conflicts that occur in their marriage.

In the initial phase, Karo-Java mixed marriages where the wife’s position Karo ethnic Javanese ethnicity, while her husband, the husband of Javanese ethnicity must undergo ritual clan Award for entry in the kinship system of Karo. Usually, clan given to the husband is the clan of a brother (uncle) of the mother of the woman (wife). Conversely, if a husband and wife who have tribes Karo ethnic Javanese ritual Award clan then taken from the clan brother or sister (mother or mother) of the father of the man (husband). Based on interviews with:

“My Husband is Javanese, so when I married him my husband took my mother’s clan brother.”

In mixed marriages where the wife is of Karo ethnic while her husband is of Javanese ethnicity, the wife takes an active role in balancing the use of both traditional Karo-Java. Based on the explanation of the respondents, in their families and kinship systems procession held in both tribes. In the initial phase of the child’s birth, a traditional Javanese used up until the phase towards maturity. Then in the phase, marriages and deaths used Karo traditional ritual. The husband who belongs to Javanese ethnicity by giving her clan Karo, is also active in various Karo family gatherings. Karo was in dominance in this marriage because of the groom (the Javanese ethnicity) into the kinship system Karo, as described:

“The husband is always involved in the events of my family (Karo.red). Because of each custom event he already had the pedigree of anything related to the custom of Karo. So, he is now accustomed to our traditions.”

This cultural unification process also detracted from the neighborhood where the family lives. Respondents who we encountered in Javanese ethnicity in which women and men have tribes of Karo, only in one family living on the Javanese, the values of parenting and education in the family was found to be thicker as patterns Java. While in Karo ethnic marriages between women and men of Javanese ethnicity, only one family living in the neighborhood the Karo tribe had the values of care, education, and the pattern of daily life more dominant.

The unification of culture on marriage phase starts from small things first, for example, the use of everyday language. The language used is Indonesian mixed with local languages on certain words both Java and Karo, regional accents, or the tone used to express something. It is slowly mixed with the local culture. Words in the local language began to wane, the accent is slowly thinned or mixed with accents of native communities, as well as a different tone in speaking. Then, turning to the next phase, in the ritual on ethnic, a mix of two cultures appears due to different ethnics.

5. Conclusions

As a result of Indonesia which consists of various ethnic or multicultural cause, the mixed marriages or marriages between ethnics will occur. Marriages between Karo tribe and Java, known by the term “Karoja”, is the primary consideration. If any person, whether male or female who want nikah with Karo tribe he would be “Merga”. Giving merga is always adjusted to merga Impalnya or marital ideal for Karo tribe. Impal in the sense if wishing to marry a man, then he should take the daughter of the brother of the mother or the so-called “Mama”. So every male Karo who married women who are not Karo will be merga in accordance with merga mother, while if wishing to marry a woman he should marry a boy of sister father or tailored to clan father’s sister’s husband. So every Karo women who are married to men who are not Karo will be given in accordance with merga husband of the sister of his Father. This is all done by the Karo people to make it easier to find out where it stands in custom events, whether the child Beru, Kalimbubu, Senina in accordance with the principle of “Rakut Sitelu” so that married couple respects each other.

The existence of mixed marriages between Karo tribe and Javanese in this Namorambe turns Mom and environmental influences are very influential. Researchers look for rearing and education that they do contaminate the environment. Why researchers say this is because, if the environment is dominant Javanese, he will affect Java, but if the dominant environment Karo man, he will affect the Karo tribe.


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